A crevice you can only squeeze in
as a six year old: lithe enough
to wriggle free of parents’ gaze,
small enough to vanish in the split.
Castle walls you can only scale
at seven: perpendicular, with one way up,
a view to fortify against adults
hurling thoughts at one other.
Bracken you can jungle in
at eight: lost in summer shade,
a stolen penknife sharper than the words
still puncturing your ears.
At eighteen, all the green and bronze
greyed out by traffic: and you,
lessened by school, too big to fit
into the only bit of growing up you’d keep.
This poem has also appeared in Message in a Bottle.